“There is no end to education. It is not that you read a book, pass an examination, and finish with education. The whole of life, from the moment you are born to the moment you die, is a process of learning.”
~ Jiddu Krishnamurti
Where do you start to talk about the lessons we learned from Sylvie di Giusto’s visit to NSA Michigan on Saturday? Personally I walked away with about eight pages of notes about how to develop, market, and sell online courses. Not so easy to boil it down to a few paragraphs. For now I’ll try to hit the highlights.
Sylvie tried to set our expectations right off the bat. Creating online courses is more than simply uploading a PDF or a video. Of course we need to create great content, but beyond that we need to set it in a nest of support software — your website, payment mechanisms, automated email services, authoring tools, and learning management systems. You can look for an all-inclusive system that covers most or all of these requirements (such as InfusionSoft) or do as Sylvie does and employ specific tools that each solve one or more of these needs.
She also pointed out that we have competition out there, and not simply from those who might have set up their own online courses. The biggest competitor for our online efforts is YouTube. No matter our topic almost any content that we want to sell is already available on YouTube for free. To combat this, we need to be successful offline first before we try to be successful online. We also need to make sure we stand out in the crowded market. Creating a program called “How to use LinkedIn” is not going to sell. “How to use LinkedIn as a Professional Speaker” is a little better. “How to use LinkedIn as a Professional Speaker in the Healthcare Industry”, while seeming to narrow the market, is the most likely to bring in the results we want.
Sylvie also showed us some of her elaborate funneling processes that can take a casual visitor and slowly convert them into a paying user. She classifies each first contact into one of three categories: People who don’t know they have a problem she can fix, people who are aware they have a problem, but don’t know that she’s the solution, and people who have a problem and suspect she’s the solution for them. Each of these groups experience a different process to bring them to the point of a sale (or to the point that she removes them from her mailing list).
Obviously Sylvie shared many more insights into developing online courses than I’ve been able to cover here. If you’d like to learn more about the details she shared, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.